“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
-Nelson Mandela, Former South African President
With all the talk going on about the changing economy and disruption happening, jobs and workers are the biggest pool of people to be affected by all these change.
Yet, there is another group that has somehow been left out of the conversation – the young.
Sure, they’re not very much affected by the changes in the economy and there should be some prioritisation in terms of help given to the working class in order to make the jobs market and the working environment more positive in order for jobseekers to get jobs.
But today’s children are tomorrow’s working class, so surely there has to be some support and prep for them, no?
Especially for those who come from low-income households, there has to be more support and assistance to give these children a good head-start in life.
Schemes like the ComCare Kindergarten and Student Care Subsidies help parents defray some of the cost of child care fees and make early childhood education affordable for low-income families.
NTUC First Campus together with NTUC-U Care Fund have also been supporting children from low-income families in My First Skool (MFS) through the Bright Horizons Fund (BHF). In fact, since it was established in 2008, the amount of BHF disbursement has doubled from $530,000 in 2008 to $1 million in 2016.
Of course, the needs of low-income families with pre-schooling children has diversified hence, BHF has gone beyond financial assistance.
More of its funds have gone towards supporting the learning and well-being of the children through various programmes in NTUC First Campus’ Child Support Model.
One of these is the new ‘You’ve Got Talent’ programme which exposes children to niche areas of sports and creative arts and provides opportunities to nurture their talents in these areas.
“As a caring Labour Movement, one of the objectives of the U Care Fund is to champion for children and youth by helping those from lower-income families to level up their playing field.”
– NTUC Assistant Secretary General Zainal Sapari
Indirectly, helping low-income families to help their children is also one way of helping workers keep their mind off the stress and worry of early childhood education fees. This way, parents can better concentrate at work and make working a positive experience.
While it is important to devote a large part of our time to help working people to tide through disruption and economic changes, let’s not forget that children too deserve some help to nurture their skills and talents for a better tomorrow.